The headlines are full of quotes from people who are pounding the war drums. So much so that many Christians believe the world is now in apocalyptic times. They say that the seals of the four horses of the apocalypse have been released. Revelation 6 speaks of the Lamb of God opening seals that result in “a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow, and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” Then a red horse that took peace from the earth so that man would kill one another. A black horse was released that caused great inflation. Then a pale horse to kill with sword, hunger and “with death.” Today we are experiencing very similar things, but there is much more to come.
Christ, in response to his disciples asking him about the timing of the end of the world, said in Matthew 24:4, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” This is the first warning of Christ about the events that would happen just prior to his return. And let us remember, Christ is speaking in Jerusalem about future Jerusalem and Israel during the time of Jacob’s Troubles, what many commonly refer to as the tribulation. In verse 6, he says, “And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” He warns of nations and kingdoms rising against one another, famines, pestilences and earthquakes, “All these are the beginning of sorrows (v.8).”
Then Christ lists an extended chronology of the events prior to his return: false prophets, betrayals, persecutions for his name’s sake, the preaching of the gospel. Then he marks the beginning of even greater tribulation when the Abomination of Desolation occurs. This is when the Beast (antichrist) stops the sacrifices at the temple and magnifies “himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods (Daniel 11:36).” The Lamb of God (Christ) is the one who opens the seal in heaven that releases this Beast (antichrist) on the white horse to conquer in Revelation 6. This Beast is the leader of the apocalyptic events that culminate in the return of Christ, the defeat of the Beast, the restoration of Israel, the cleansing of the earth, and the establishment of the millennial reign of Christ on earth.
According to prophecy, there are several milestones that must occur before the earth enters the time of Jacob’s Troubles. Among them are the Beast himself must rise to power and conquer—which is the releasing of the first seal by the Lamb of God (Christ), and the sacrifices in the Temple being ended by this Beast, who sets himself up as greater than God. There is not even a temple at this time. These things have not happened yet. There are many types and shadows in the world that are rising and falling from rumors of wars to wars to inflation to pestilences and famines. The world could very well be in the beginning of sorrows. As Christ advises, see that you are not troubled, but be aware and discerning, and ready to share the gospel to those who have no understanding of the times, and live in great fear.